Searching for Microforms
Searching for microforms in the Library of Congress is similar to
searching for items in print format. Microform materials and collections
are included in the online, card, and printed book catalogs.
Searching for individual titles: Most individual
titles in microform can be found in the Library's catalogs. Since
individual titles in microform do not always receive full cataloging,
subject searches are not always reliable. Keyword searches can be
a good substitute. Some individual titles filmed before 1982 are
listed only in the Microform Reading Room Card Catalog. Consult
a reference librarian in the Microform and Electronic Resources Center (LJ-139, the former Computer Catalog Center) or
in the Main Reading Room for help.
Searching for collections and individual items included
in a collection: Searches in the online or card catalogs
will yield microform collections and/or some individual items that
are part of microform collections. Many individual items included
in microform collections are not listed in the Library's catalogs.
To find these items you first have to identify microform collections
relevant to your research and then consult a guide to the collection's
contents. A set of microform guides is available in the Main Reading
Room's Reference Assistance Room. (In rare instances a collection
may not have a guide, and it is necessary to browse the collection
itself). To identify microform collections relevant to your research
you can search the Library's online catalog. Title and/or title
keyword searches are a good approach. Most microform collections
have been given full cataloging. A list of most of the collections
and the guides can be found in A Guide to the Microform Collections in the Humanities
and Social Sciences Division of the Library of Congress. This
guide is available for consultation in the Microform Reading Room,
the Main Reading Room's Reference Assistance Room, and in various
other locations. It is also available online via the Library's website.
Information about microform collections and guides can also be found
in the Library's online catalog
by choosing the "Command Keyword" option and using the search term
"microform" in combination with other search terms (e.g. "slave
narratives" AND microform).
The staff of the Library has also prepared a number of special
research guides which are available in the Microform Reading Room
and in the Main Reading Room. The full text of some microform
guides is available on the Library's website. In addition, many
standard research tools include listings of microforms.
To make full use of the Library's microform collections, please
consult a reference librarian.